Rufus Wainwright: My Favorite Things of the Year - Rolling Stone
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Year in Review: So, How Was Your 2020, Rufus Wainwright?

Singer-songwriter finds comfort in Randy Newman, Umberto D and Joe Biden’s presidential win

rufus wainwright year end surveyrufus wainwright year end survey

Tony Hauser*

So, How Was Your 2020? is a series in which our favorite entertainers answer our questionnaire about the music, culture and memorable moments that shaped their year. We’ll be rolling these pieces out throughout December.

Rufus Wainwright, like many artists this year, was forced to reconfigure his plans after the coronavirus pandemic delayed the release date of his Grammy-nominated new album, Unfollow the Rules, his first proper pop effort since 2012. But the singer-songwriter didn’t let that hiccup slow him down at all: Even before the album’s belated arrival, he launched a daily livestream series, where he performed one song from his catalog every day on piano. He also appeared on Rolling Stone’s In My Room series, led an ambitious quarantine project that featured 1,500 people singing the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” and is in the middle of a livestream tour where he’ll perform all nine of his studio albums.

Amidst all that, Wainwright still found plenty of time to read, revisit Randy Newman records, binge British TV shows and go camping. Plus, all that time at home also allowed Wainwright to tap back into a bit of childhood reverie, telling Rolling Stone that one of the most positive things that happened to him this year was getting the “opportunity to think like a 9-year- old [while] spending so much time with our daughter.”

The album I listened to the most in 2020 was:
Unfollow the Rules, my new album. It was a work thing.

My favorite TV show to stream during quarantine was:
Victoria. Good old family Royal fun without the drugs and divorces.

The song that will define “2020” for me is:
“Who Knows Where the Time Goes.” I had a chance to record it with Brandi Carlile for eTown.

I’d define my current state of mind as:
More grateful than ever.

The viral video I kept coming back to in quarantine was:
The woman who couldn’t stop laughing about Giuliani’s Four Seasons press conference.

The old-favorite album I returned to for comfort this year was:
Randy Newman, Trouble in Paradise. Need I say more?

The old-favorite movie I returned to for comfort this year was:
Umberto D. by Vittorio de Sica — an old man and a dog is all he needs to tell us everything about life that is important to learn.

A new hobby I picked up in quarantine was:
Camping in an airstream

The celebrity I’d most want to quarantine with is:
Carrie Fisher — mainly because I miss her so much and you don’t need a world outside of hers.

The most interesting thing I learned to cook during quarantine was:
I don’t cook but my husband started making Pelmeni from scratch.

The best book I read in quarantine was:
Rabbit Run by John Updike

Something positive that happened to me that nobody noticed was:
I had the opportunity to think like a 9-year-old spending so much time with our daughter.

The mistake I learned the most from this year was:
News is a drug.

The biggest hero of 2020 was:
Joe Biden.

A word or phrase I never want to hear again is:

The thing I’m least looking forward to in 2021 is:
Saying that I am giving up potatoes, bread and sugar.

The thing I’m most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over is:
Spacing out on a crowded street.

My biggest hope for 2021 is:
Democrats winning two senators in Georgia.


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